The Real Story of the ’64 Venice Biennale in ‘Taking Venice’ Doc Trailer

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    The Real Story of the ’64 Venice Biennale in ‘Taking Venice’ Doc Trailer

    by Alex Billington
    April 2, 2024
    Source: YouTube

    Taking Venice Doc Trailer

    “Is it your theory not to have a theory?” Zeitgeist Films has revealed an official trailer for a documentary film called Taking Venice, a remarkable true story from art history. This premiered at DOC NYC last year and is opening in limited theaters starting in May. The film received critical acclaim at the 2023 Rome Film Festival, Sao Paulo Film Festival, and Fort Lauderdale Festival. The documentary uncovers the true story behind rumors that the 1964 Venice Biennale was rigged – by the U.S. Government and a team of highly placed insiders – so that their chosen artist, Robert Rauschenberg, would win the grand prize. “This fun caper movie explores the true story behind the rumors… With an extraordinary cast of experts and insiders from the art world and extensive archival footage, the [doc] reveals the plans of ambitious curator Alan Solomon and pioneering art dealer Leo Castelli to win the 1964 Grand Prize for American artist Robert Rauschenberg and fight Communism with culture.” There are more & more docs recently revealing strange but true stories (also see: Neither Confirm Nor Deny). This story looks unbelievable fascinating to dive into.

    Here’s the official trailer (+ poster) for Amei Wallach’s doc Taking Venice, direct from YouTube:

    Taking Venice Doc Poster

    Full intro to Taking Venice: At the height of the Cold War, the United States government is determined to fight Communism with culture. The Venice Biennale, the world’s most influential art exhibition, becomes a proving ground in 1964. Alice Denney, Washington insider and friend of the Kennedys, recommends Alan Solomon, an ambitious curator making waves with trailblazing art, to organize the U.S. entry. Together with Leo Castelli, a powerful New York art dealer, they launch a daring plan to attempt to make Robert Rauschenberg the winner of the Grand Prize. The artist is yet to be taken seriously with his combinations of junk off the street and images from pop culture – but he has the potential to dazzle. Deftly pulling off maneuvers that could have come from a Hollywood thriller, the American team leaves the international press crying foul and Rauschenberg questioning the politics of nationalism that sent him to the Biennale.

    Taking Venice is directed by acclaimed journalist / doc filmmaker Amei Wallach, director of the doc films Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here, and Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine previously. Produced by Vanessa Bergonzoli, Tal Mandil, Andrea Miller. This initially premiered at the 2023 DOC NYC Film Festival last year. Zeitgeist Films & Kino Lorber will release Wallach’s Taking Venice doc in select US theaters starting May 17th, 2024 coming soon this summer. For more info, visit the official site.

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